Roger Federer has heard enough gripes about him getting special treatment at the U.S. Open.
The five-time champion used some salty language while saying as much after easily dispatching Great Britain’s Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in 82 minutes in a noon match Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Evans clearly was unhappy that he had played the day before, finishing at 6 p.m., and it was implied to Federer in a post-match question that he requested to play in the daytime for a competitive advantage.
“I don’t remember that I asked for something. Yeah. It’s maybe nice to be out of the sun, as well, I don’t know, I thought. But I definitely didn’t do it intentionally,” the 38-year-old Federer said. “I don’t even know if my team asked for (the) day (session). I know there was questions to have a preference.
“But that doesn’t mean, like, ‘Roger asks, Roger gets.’ Just remember that, because I have heard this s–t too often now. I’m sick and tired of it, that apparently I call the shots. The tournament and the TV stations do. We can give our opinion. That’s what we do. But I’m still going to walk out, even if they schedule me at 4:00 in the morning.”
After dropping the first set in each of his matches in the first two rounds, Federer made quick work of Evans in the shortest completed men’s match of the tournament thus far. After the second set, the scoreboard even flashed a statistic that Federer had hammered 20 winners with zero for Evans, who had defeated No. 25 seed Lucas Pouille on Thursday in four sets.
The 29-year-old Evans, ranked 58th in the world, admitted afterward that Federer was “too good,” but he also believed the quick turnaround was unfair to him.
“You think I have any say about that?” Evans said. “There’s probably about four people in this tournament who have a say in when they play, maybe three.”
A few minutes later, he added: “Obviously the tournament would rather Roger going through that match than me, so it’s understandable.”
Federer, who last won this tournament in 2008, said he understood Evans’ frustration with the timing of Friday’s match, even if he insisted he had nothing to do with its the scheduling.
“I mean, look, yes, regardless of when he finished it was always going to be a competitive advantage for me. So there you have it,” Federer said. “Now, is it a big difference if we play at 12:00 or 2:00? Not really. But I think at some stage every hour might matter. We have these rules in place, you know, 16-hour rules from semis to finals nowadays because of that reason, that you have maybe not enough time to physically recover but also mentally recover.
“But I have been there, too,” the Swiss legend continued. “I know what you’re talking about. Yeah, you could definitely argue that the scheduling was not in his favor. But it’s anyway not fair for me to play my match under the roof, get it done, sit back, relax the next day while he’s battling out a four-hour or a three-hour match, whatever it is, against Pouille. The problem already starts there.
“But that’s tennis. It’s entertainment, and the show must go on. I’ve lost maybe matches this way. I’ve won some this time. Luck was on my side. There you have it. So, yeah, I understand if Danny is, like, a little bit frustrated.”
No player has ever lost the opening set in the first and second rounds of the U.S. Open and gone on to win the tournament since the challenger round was abolished in 1912. But Federer overpowered Evans to improve to 18-1 for his career here in third-round play, with his lone loss coming to Juan Carlos Ferrero back in 2000.
Into the fourth round now in his 15th consecutive Grand Slam event — and for the 66th time overall in his career — Federer will face the winner of No. 15 David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta, likely on Sunday.
“I expect it to be tough,” Federer said. “Not like today, anyway.”
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